Media And The Social Web

By Seana Mulcahy


Move over, World Wide Web, and give a warm welcome to the World Live Web (WLW). Actually it’s been around for many years now. Unfortunately it hasn’t popped up in our beloved industry until late. 

Doc Searls is the Senior Editor for the Linux Journal, the original (and still the leading) Linux publication, which was calling it the “Live Web” over six years ago. But what is it? Well a variety of elements including blogs, feeds, tags, etc. The concept doesn’t deal with plain ole static Web pages; it’s dynamic and ever-changing.

Searls posted some compelling info over three years ago now. Typically in our business I think three years ago is beyond old news. However, this has a shelf life and applies to folks just starting to question it and explore it. Searls outlines the “difference between the Wide Web and the Live Web:”


· The simple difference is the Live Web is syndicated. That means every time something is posted or updated, a notification goes out, informing the world about it.

· The most familiar syndication method is RSS, which commonly stands for Really Simple Syndication.

· Wide Web search engines send out spiders to crawl through every site on the Web…Live Web search engines crawl only syndicated pages and only when they’re notified by a fresh feed from those pages.

· Wide Web indexing is proactive and archives everything, while Live Web indexing is reactive and archives only what’s fresh.

· What matters most usually is what’s freshest — or both relevant and fresh.

However, back to our industry…most are late to the race. That’s why it kills me when most agency types question it. Just ask your agency what they do beyond traditional online display advertising. Most won’t even get the question. The more advanced will probably say anything digital like search engine marketing, email, word-of-mouth — or some combination of diverse terms. The advanced will say advertising within social media. Even most of the advanced types can’t define what it means. Just ask them. Most likely they won’t be able to give you the two-minute elevator pitch. Some may push you off by referring you to someone in digital media or even public relations. And many will look at you like you are a dope and say, “Sites like MySpace and Facebook, of course.”

I’ll let you in on a little secret: Digital media pioneers strategize via a different lens. Fresh rankings and content are preferred. News is old often within moments — but it’s more than getting there first. It’s about relevance, authenticity and engagement. I’ve been saying it for years now; it’s not about traffic, it’s about qualified traffic. I guess I’ll add to that and wordsmith later, vis a vis relevancy.

My firm often partners or gets asked to partner with other service providers. Often traditional agencies and marketers come to us to handle the digital elements of a brand’s business. In some instances we partner with other service firms.

Let’s just say we keep a close eye toward whom we partner with. Most of the traditional guys need us (not just me and my company — digital folks at large). They still don’t get the online “stuff.” There remain a fair amount of digital types that think their respective services can be done in a vacuum. Their crystal balls resemble a fun-house mirror to me.

I recently had an exec-level person question the validity of our integrity in regard to our recommendations for a brand. We centered our campaign on the social Web (or live web). I can’t get into what they were. The bottom line is, we got questioned; in a bad way.

I’m still not sure where the questioner was coming from. All I know is that he doubted our thinking and threw out accusations (we’ll leave it at that). It was almost as if he thought we were “making up” venues and opportunities that didn’t exist. Social media to him had to be like traditional media and be clear-cut negotiated spaces with standardized ad sizes (units) and cost per thousand (CPM) pricing.

If you want to advertise, market and promote in areas that are “live,” how they hell can you determine that before such conversations, brand chatter, tags, etc., happen??? You can’t. If someone is guaranteeing that, then have them email me off list. I simply don’t believe (right now) you can.

Heck, if it means passing up business, isn’t it worth it — based on methodology, practice and passion? I think so. Over to you. Would you sacrifice a relationship based on your beliefs?

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